Brothers in Valor by H. Paul Honsinger

With Book 3, the universe of the Man of War series has expanded and author Honsinger opts for a very definitive punctuation mark at the end (though the series continues). Those enjoying the exuberant speeches and World-buildling-through-dialogue will no doubt have fun with Brothers in Valor. For there is plenty of action (and speeches) here to keep readers engaged.

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Story: What looks to be a trap – often is? Warily, the Cumberland follows strict orders from Admiral Hornmeyer to enter Krag territory and take down a feared tactician, code named ‘Admiral Birch’. But is it luck or are they about to find themselves three layers deep in deception? And will Robichaux’s canniness be able to pull them out of this latest fix?

As with previous books, our Star Trek meets Master and Commander dialogue between young skipper Robichaux and uptight doctor Sahin is the heart of the book. Although I’m still not convinced that the Earth would hold back half the human race (the female half) despite facing annhilation, clearly Sahin with his over-emotional outbursts and uptight nature is playing the female role to Max’s gung-ho macho maleness perfectly (in a very non-sexual if perhaps not necessarily unhomoerotic way).

The dizzying amount of superfluous information about cultures and languages of earth (and even Krag now) is balanced by the amount of fun Honsinger has with the action. So while I appreciate that this isn’t a story about white guys in space, I do still wish that the characters were a bit more realistic. It makes for an enjoyable read but a bit too easy to forget afterwards.

I do admit, I am continually amused to find the Star Trek references in there. From a nurse by the name of Church (ah, Nurse Chapel, we miss you), to the doctor being called Bones as a nickname, to Robichaux’s over the top speeches. There were many more references in Brothers in Valor – a treat to find the Easter Eggs for Star Trek fans.

I listened to the audible narration and I’m at a bit of a love-hate relationship with it. The narrator is emotive and does a great job with what has to be the hardest lines *ever* to read convincingly. But at the same time, the bored, fatalistic inflection takes the over-the-top dialogue and can make it really seem flat. At times, a lot of the fun was sucked out by the book because of the dropping of tone at the end of each sentence.

In all, I did enjoy Brothers and Valor and look forward to the next book.

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